Alcohol noted as possible factor in what police say was an accidental death
VENTURA, Calif. — The father of a 15-year-old boy accused of killing a gay classmate was found dead at his home on Wednesday, March 18, just hours before his son was expected to appear at a court hearing, authorities said.
The body of William McInerney, 45, was found in his living room about 7:20 a.m. by a friend, said Craig Stevens, a senior deputy medical examiner for Ventura County.
Stevens said the death was ruled accidental after an autopsy found McInerney died of blunt force head injury.
"We believe he fell and struck his head on a concrete floor in his home," Stevens said.
Medical evidence of alcohol abuse and evidence found at the scene indicated that McInerney might have been intoxicated at the time, but toxicology tests have not been completed, he said.
McInerney’s son, Brandon, has been charged as an adult in the February 2008 shooting of 15-year-old Larry King at their junior high school in Oxnard. He has pleaded not guilty.
The preliminary hearing was delayed once word came of William McInerney’s death. The teen, who has been held at a county juvenile hall since his arrest, was being notified about his father’s death, said Alan Hammerand, chief deputy probation officer for juvenile facilities.
"He will be meeting with family and psychiatric staff," Hammerand said.
The elder McInerney was scheduled to be arraigned Thursday, March 19 on felony charges he threatened to kill his sister during a domestic dispute last month.
The sister, Maura McInerney, testified that he became enraged and threatened her after she was unable to wake him up for a scheduled visit with his jailed son.
Court records also portrayed a troubled past for the family.
William McInerney was sentenced in 2000 for domestic battery against the boy’s mother, Kendra McInerney, and in 1993, several months before Brandon was born, he shot her with a .45-caliber pistol, shattering her elbow, court documents show.